Paperless Onboarding – It’s Just Good for Business

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by iCIMS, a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition software solutions for growing businesses. Earlier this month, iCIMS received a Brandon Hall Award for excellence with their Social Distribution solution. Congrats to their success! I hope you enjoy the post.)

It’s unfortunate but one nickname human resources has developed over the years is the tree-killing department. Yep, we’re known for paper forms, files, reports, binders, etc. If it’s paper…somehow HR is involved. Of course, I’m exaggerating a bit but you get the point. Paperless and HR seem like an oxymoron.

But with today’s technology, it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Now you might be thinking, employee information is highly confidential data. True. We can’t store sensitive data on computers. We need hard copy in a file cabinet under lock and key. Hmmm…not so fast. I ran across some interesting statistics specifically about the use of cloud computing. According to Gartner by 2016, more than 50% of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.

If companies can store confidential customer data in the cloud, why can’t we store employee data in the cloud?

Forget the environmental advantage for a second. We can see that benefit immediately. Think about the benefits to having all of your employee data in one location where everyone could have immediate access to it and leverage it for your business.

Let’s look at one component – onboarding. Here’s a real example of a company that’s doing it right. National Church Residences is a not-for-profit corporation and leader in senior HUD housing. They have over 330 communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico. With lots of locations and a paper application process, they discovered that candidates could apply at one location – get rejected – and then apply at another location without either site knowing about it. Candidate rejection aside, applicants could also apply at multiple locations without hiring managers realizing it. The business was duplicating their efforts.

recruiting, talent, talent management, icims, software, career, network, website, career siteCatherine Flemming, director of healthcare recruiting, said that iCIMS Talent Platform streamlined their hiring process, reduced paper filing and manual recordkeeping, and improved efficiency. “We can share candidate information between different locations now, and attach notes to each applicant as they move through the hiring process. We’ve increased the speed of communication within the organization. It’s been great.”

Not only can organizations store their applicant and candidate data online but technology can create efficiency within orientation. I remember years ago teaching a course at a local university. The university asked me to fill out a few papers so I could get paid. A few papers = 31. Yep, 31 pieces of paper to get a handful of checks a year.

As a HR pro, it would be interesting to know how many pieces of paper the average employee has to sign in order to get hired. And how many of those forms could be filled out and stored electronically.

Flemming added that onboarding at National Church Residences is faster using the Communications Center feature within iCIMS. “Recruiters use the templates to request that new hires fill out required forms on the New Hire Onboarding Portal prior to their start date. It ensures forms are consistently completed correctly, and readable. As a result, we’ve been able to get our new hires into the payroll system much faster than before.”

Isn’t that what employees care about? Getting paid.

Isn’t that what managers care about? Getting employees to work.

Isn’t that what the company cares about? Employees working and taking care of customers.

Organizations are still very focused on making the most by using the least. A recent article in Forbes cited a study indicating the amount of time spent in training (versus cost) is a focus of CEOs. It’s clear that training activities such as onboarding need to be relevant and succinct.

What better way to create a laser focused onboarding effort than by eliminating the paper intensive portion of the process?

More and more businesses are realizing the importance customers place on being environmentally friendly. Businesses have always realized the need to be productive and profitable. Today, taking a process paperless isn’t a tree-hugging move. It’s a smart business decision.

If you’re interested in learning how you can take your HR department paperless, contact the team at iCIMS. Download their whitepaper on going green or view a video demo of their Onboard product’s capabilities. You can also connect with them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter.


  1. says

    I would agree in certain cases but not in all . For example: sensitive information that could be miss-used if it fell into the wrong hands.

    But I would agree it would get rid of the masses of paper laying around in offices, homes etc.

    Take great care

  2. says

    Thanks for this enlightening article. Years ago, while working as an HR Manager in healthcare, I expressed interest in securing something similar to this…I was glared at as if I had a third eyeball! Lol I am elated to know that there are companies out there who are forward thinking.